I am Benoît Sokal, co-founder of White Birds Productions, author of video games (“Amerzone”, “Syberia I & II”) and cartoonist. On “Paradise” specifically, I am the author and the Art Director.
Once I decided that this game would take place in Africa, I imagined a very big country. A country with a North border still of Arabic inspiration, and one that becomes more and more “dark Africa” when going South. I also have to say that I went on holiday in Morocco, in Marrakech two years ago and that I was fascinated by the city. Besides the global atmosphere, the challenge for me was to faithfully represent those amazing mosaics, like in the Prince’s apartments or the City Gate. I think that the final result, in Madargane, is close to what a real North African city is, without all the added fantasy of course.
Madargane (World 1) is first of all the place in which you discover who you are as a player, and that is Ann Smith. It is also the world in which you meet with the one that will be your silent companion throughout the whole game: the mysterious black leopard. But there are also a lot of other characters to meet and interact with in this world, from the little Palate servant, Aicha, to the Prince of Madargane himself.
When I started working on world 1, I did not look back to my holidays pictures ?. In fact, I tried to re-create an “ideal” Moroccan/North African city from scratch, using only my imagination. I also bought a lot of Art and Travel books. And, lastly, I looked into the works of a painter from whom I learned a lot during my Art studies: Delacroix and his views from Morocco.
- Paradise presents a unique blend of a semi-realistic sub-Saharan world and an ethereal fantasy. Africa comes to life as a breathtaking visual experience. Both the cinematics and over 350 backgrounds include Sokal’s unique and visionary artistic direction.
- Ann Smith, a college student from Geneva, loses her identity and must journey through uncharted corners of Africa to unravel her past. How has Ann come to be in a place so wrought with turmoil? Why is her fate tied to that of a black leopard? Is Ann the daughter of a fierce dictator? Unlock those secrets and more as the story unfolds.
- Puzzle solutions are seamlessly embedded into the story as players must interact with their environment and other characters to gain insight into clues that will help reveal Ann’s true identity and answer why she’s in this strange African land.
- Adding a new “action” element to the traditional slideshow style of play, the real-time 3D graphics take over as the player becomes the leopard, searching for a way home.
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